I've always had a need to know things and to have the best information possible before making an important decision. If anything, being a lawyer has only increased this "need to know" for me.
Because we are not currently doing treatment, and because things have been slow for me at work, lately I have made researching clinics which perform donor egg IVF my little project. (Sure, there are other issues to be considered before we decide to do this, but "where" seemed as good a place as any to start.) I have visited forums and clinic websites. I have done innumerable google searches. I have read the CDC report for ART for 2007 as it pertains to donor egg success rates.
The internet can be a wonderful tool, and I shudder to think about how difficult this type of research would've been in the pre-internet days. On the other hand, there is just SO much information out there! And it can sometimes be hard to know which information you find is reliable.
While reviewing the CDC's ART report, I decided I needed to set some parameters. I mean, there are nearly a hundred clinics in the U.S. which perform DE IVF; I can't possibly research and consider every.single.one of them. So I decided I would only look at clinics which reported a success rate of at least 75% for DE IVF and which had performed more than 20 cycles of DE IVF that year.
The success rate is extremely important to us because just paying for one fresh DE IVF cycle, and perhaps FETs from eggs from that cycle, will be a struggle. There is absolutely no way that we could afford to do a second fresh DE cycle, so we would need to go somewhere with high odds of success on the first try.
Even narrowing my parameters this way, I still identified eight clinics. (Interestingly, all of them are in the West.) Also, by narrowing my parameters that way, I eliminated from consideration some clinics about which I have seen positive posts on DE IVF forums.
Of the eight clinics I identified, CCRM performed by far the most DE IVF cycles in 2007: 217, which was nearly three times as many as the next-busiest clinic. Two bloggers whom I read regularly, and other bloggers whose blogs I've visited on occasion, have either gone through, or are currently going through, DE IVF cycles at CCRM, so I have at least a passing familiarity with that clinic.
Most of the other clinics I'd never even heard of. But I guess there would be no reason for me to hear of clinics performing DE IVF really, would there? I mean, this isn't an option that's used as often as IVF with one's own eggs.
And aside from clinics in the U.S., there is also the going-abroad option. The most attractive aspect of that option is the cost, but I do worry about having to travel far away to do a DE IVF cycle. For one, traveling internationally is a little more complicated and time-consuming than traveling within my own region of the U.S. Also, I worry about "what if," meaning what if the first fresh DE IVF cycle we did didn't work? We would then have to fly back to whatever country our clinic was in to do a FET. That is not very realistic for me because I only get two weeks a year of vacation.
Ugh. So much to think about and consider. Yet I feel a need to have as much information as possible before I will even be in a position to make a decision about this. (I haven't even really started doing the emotional work of accepting this an option because I'm not even committed in my mind to the idea of doing DE IVF yet.) So my research continues.